Teaching your kids the right way to take care of their smile is very important. Many dentists recommend starting early to give your children plenty of time to develop good oral hygiene habits to keep their teeth clean & cavity-free at a time in life when they should be able to focus on growing & learning.
Your child’s dental care is very important to their development. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends an oral health consultation as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in or by their first birthday at the latest.
Does that sound too early? We believe it’s never too early to start establishing good dental habits! But that’s not the only reason to schedule your child’s first dental visit.
What is Children’s Dentistry?
Children’s dentistry focuses on giving children the tools they need to have healthy teeth so they can live without fear of aches & issues. Integral to this mission is prevention. Fluoride treatments are excellent for supplementing oral hygiene habits & preventing tooth decay. While fluoride is commonly present in drinking water, regular fluoride treatments can help children stay ahead of the curve in protecting their teeth. Similarly, sealants may be recommended to cover & protect the teeth most vulnerable to bacteria. However, neither fluoride nor sealants are a replacement for daily brushing & flossing!
Why It’s Important to Start Early
Many parents may wonder why they should bring their children to the dentist or fight to get their children to brush their teeth if they are just going to lose their primary teeth starting around age 6. Besides getting them into good hygiene habits before their adult teeth come in, it’s important to prevent cavities to keep children healthy overall.
Most children have a full set of baby teeth by age 3 & as many as 1 in 4 children has a cavity by age 4. Even before all their teeth come in, children get exposed to sugar in breastmilk, formula & their first solid foods. Without an early cleaning routine, all that sugar can cause cavities in new teeth that are particularly susceptible to decay. Cavities in children can affect their development & education if not addressed. Tooth pain can be distracting at school or home & can even cause children to turn down food that they need because it might hurt their teeth to eat it. When cavities lead to early tooth loss, it can affect their adult teeth because primary teeth guide adult teeth into their proper place. If the primary tooth is missing, adjacent teeth might move into the space where the missing tooth used to be, leaving little or no room for the adult tooth. This can result in the need for costly corrective treatment later on.
We know visiting the dentist for the first time can be scary, so we are happy to treat your child while he or she sits on your lap. Our goal is to develop a caring relationship with your child & to encourage proper oral hygiene that will last a lifetime.
What to Expect at This First Visit
This first visit won’t be like a hygiene appointment you would expect for yourself. Instead, we’ll focus on education & prevention. We’ll gently check your child’s mouth for tooth decay & other potential dental problems. We’ll talk about how to keep your child’s mouth & teeth clean, including topics like diet, eating habits & hygiene practices. We’ll also demonstrate how to clean & care for your child’s teeth & talk about how to deal with other oral issues like teething & thumb sucking.
We do our best to keep your child & you at ease during every visit, but we understand that children get fussy. To help this visit go smoothly, we recommend keeping other children at home or under watch by another adult so you can focus on this visit. Bring a soothing toy, snacks, diapers, etc. to soothe your child if they get fussy.
Call us today to set up your child’s first dental visit.